Your daughter is getting married and just the thought of it has you thrilled and nervous at the same time. You’ve read all the horror stories about crazed mothers of brides and you don’t want to make the same mistakes they made. Most of all, you want the whole experience of planning and attending the wedding and the events leading up to it to be as joyful and stress-free as possible.
How to make that happen? Here are some of the questions you probably have, and answers we hope will be helpful:
Who Pays for What?
Traditionally, the bride’s parents pay for and host the wedding and the groom’s parents pay for and host the rehearsal dinner. But in today’s world, it’s all open to discussion and compromise. Much depends on everyone’s financial resources. And certainly, if the bridal couple wants more extravagance than their families can manage, they should be welcome to chip in.
The time to talk about the budget is before any planning is done. Be honest about your limits and don’t let pride put you in a risky financial position. A wedding can be beautiful without costing a fortune.
Should I Host a Bridal Shower?
Old school etiquette says that it’s inappropriate for the mother of the bride to throw a shower for her daughter because it gives the impression that you’re asking for gifts. On the other hand, everyone’s situation is different, and these days it’s not unusual for the bride’s mother to be a shower hostess, particularly if she’s sharing the duties with the bride’s sisters or other relatives.
The only taboo is inviting guests to a shower who have not been invited to the wedding. Unless — and here’s where it gets tricky – your daughter is having a destination wedding with a limited guest list. Let your good judgment be your guide on that one. If you’re not having a post-wedding party for the friends who aren’t making the trip to Tahiti with you, for example, a shower might be a nice way to include them in the festivities.
The short answer is to wear something that makes you look as wonderful as you feel on this big day. Your daughter should absolutely be the star of the show at her own wedding, though, so be mindful of that and leave the tiara at home. Don’t wear anything that’s white or close to it, either. White is for the bride. Period. The color of your dress doesn’t have to, nor should it, match the color of the bridal party’s, but for the sake of the photographs do choose something that coordinates and doesn’t clash.
In your excitement at shopping for mother of the bride dresses, don’t forget the mother of the groom. It’s a big day for her, too. Even if you haven’t met yet, do her a kindness and let her in on the wedding’s color palette and what you’re planning to wear. It’s not the kind of thing her son is likely to think of telling her.
What is My Role in the Planning?
Most brides want their weddings to reflect their own personalities and preferences. So even if you’re paying for the whole shebang, give it up to your daughter. You can offer suggestions, of course, and definitely, and ready to be a sounding board, but let the wedding fulfill her own dreams rather than your own. (No one said all of this was going to be easy.)
One thing you can certainly do is consult with your daughter on the guest list. Give her the names and contact information for family and friends you want to invite and be willing to work with her on paring the list if it exceeds the capacity of the budget or the venue. You can also take the burden off her and be the conciliatory middleman if the groom’s family turns in a list that’s too long.
As for the rest, take on whatever planning tasks she might ask you to help with, and otherwise just do all the mom things you’re so good at, like listening to her concerns, supporting her decisions, and reassuring her that it’s going to be a perfect wedding and she’s going to be the most gorgeous bride the world has ever seen. She’s your precious daughter, after all, and you can’t imagine it any other way.